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Holiday Bazaar will benefit Salvation Army

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The Christmas House and Bazaar, a 30-year tradition carried on by the Stately Oaks Arts and Craft Guild, came to a end last year.

This weekend, Historical Jonesboro Living History Guild will revive it by having its own holiday crafts bazaar.

The Old-Fashioned Holiday Bazaar will take place this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 14-15, from 10 a.m., to 6 p.m., inside the Bethel School House at Stately Oaks Plantation.

Handmade Christmas ornaments, nutcrackers, pearl jewelry, children's toys, dream catchers, shawls, hats, scarves, wooden items, fragrances, soaps, woven purses and belts, reefs, painted rugs, and other items will be available for purchase.

Barbara Emert, president of Historical Jonesboro, said while the bazaar will be on a smaller scale than the one hosted for years by the Stately Oaks Arts and Crafts Guild, it will continue the tradition of handcrafted holiday gifts.

"I think people love to have something that is handmade, that is special, and not mass produced," said Emert. "We're trying to preserve those old time skills that are represented by these products. The woven purses, the handmade reefs, you have to go to a craftsman to get that. You can't just get it at the mall."

Admission to the bazaar is $1, or two cans of food, which will benefit the Salvation Army in Jonesboro.

Jon Crane, who serves as Salvation Army chairman of disaster services for Clayton, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, and Butts counties, said a combination of natural and economic disasters have caused the demand on Salvation Army services to skyrocket.

"We still have issues that we are dealing with from [hurricanes] Katrina, Rita, and Ike," said Crane. "The turndown in the economy was really kind of the icing on the cake as far as pushing ourselves to the edge of our resources.

"We're seeing up to a 400 percent increase of the amount of people seeking assistance as we have had in the past," Crane continued. "That's not countrywide, that's just in Jonesboro. It used to be a big thing seeing 700 people come in for help. We could see as many as 4,000 in a month for different requests. We're real grateful that [Historical Jonesboro] has stepped up to help us."

"We are always trying to raise money for ourselves and we need to do that," said Emert. "This year, everybody knows that the economy is terrible and so many people are out of work. If we can give [the Salvation Army] a little extra help, that's a good thing."

Rachel McKinney, a staff member at Stately Oaks who will be selling crochet hats, scarves and shawls at the bazaar, said the event encourages craft makers to continue to make products by giving them a place to share their skills with the community.

"We all enjoy doing our crafts just to do them, but we end up with an excess amount of them," said McKinney. "It's nice to be able to share what we do with other people. There aren't that many people doing these kinds of crafts anymore, so hopefully, if more people get interested, that will keep these traditions going."

For more information, call (770) 473-0197 or visit www.historicaljonesboro.org.